Documenting procedures is vital for increasing the value of your business and
preventing what’s known as tribal knowledge.
Why you need to document your procedures
Tribal knowledge refers to the unwritten knowledge of how things are run in your organization. Collectively, your employees hold a great deal of tribal knowledge, which can have a negative impact on your business because it becomes more difficult to hire and replace employees or sell your business if all of your day-to-day processes are in your employees’ heads. It also creates operational inefficiencies – for example, if one of your essential personnel has a sudden medical emergency and is out of the office for a week, a lack of documentation could cause you and your other employees to waste time scrambling and figuring out how to perform that employee’s job or even worse, could halt your business from functioning entirely. By documenting the key duties of each employee, you can eliminate the efficiencies caused by tribal knowledge and make your business more valuable.
What the purpose of documentation is and isn’t
When faced with the task of documenting their tasks, some employees may fear that “sharing their secrets” will lead to job elimination; after all, employees enjoy the feeling of being regarded as the “go-to” person for specific information, and they don’t want to feel as if their expertise is no longer needed. Job elimination is not the purpose of procedures documentation – rather, you are focusing on increasing efficiency and helping your employees perform at their best. By documenting everyone’s duties, you can narrow down the best practices and empower your employees with tools to make them more successful, which in turn makes your business more successful.